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FGV suspends group president and CFO

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Zakaria Arshad (pic), the group president and CEO of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) and the group chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha have been suspended with immediate effect.

Zakaria told The Star that he received a letter on Tuesday signed by chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad informing him that he has been relieved of all duties in FGV and its subsidiaries indefinitely.

FGV said on Tuesday both were given given leave of absence from Tuesday pending a probe of certain deals under Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd, which is a subsidiary of FGV.

In a statement issued to Bursa Malaysia, FGV it would continue its business as usual. 

In the interim, a board executive committee, comprising of two FGV directors Datuk Dr Omar Salim and Datuk Mohd Zafer Mohd Hashim, together with Azman Ahmad, head of logistics cluster will take over the responsibility to perform the functions of the group president/CEO.

The board appointed Aznur Kama Azmir, group financial controller of its plantation sector as the interim group CFO.

“Further announcements shall be made in the event of material developments on this matter,” it said.

Shares of FGV fell seven sen to RM1.60 before trading was suspended for the announcement.

Zakaria had refused to resign after being asked to do so by Mohd Isa, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

According to the June 5 letter by Zakaria to Mohd Isa, Zakaria said he had been accused of wrongdoing in payments to a Afghan company that FGV had done business with via Delima Oil Products.

"The chairman has asked that I resign as president and FGV group chief executive due to accusations that I have violated corporate governance code," he said in the letter.

"The payment process... was approved and implemented by the previous chief executive... I am not guilty of those accusations and will not resign as instructed."

Mohd Isa is scheduled to hold a press conference at 0530 GMT.

Zakaria was appointed to the post of FGV, one of the world’s largest palm oil companies, effective April 1, 2016.

Zakaria has been the executive vice president/head of palm downstream cluster of FGV since 2014.

He takes over from Datuk Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah whose contract expired on March 31.

Zakaria holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Economics) degree from Universiti Sains Malaysia and has attended executive business courses in Harvard Business School and Pembroke College, Cambridge University.

A Fellow of the International Society of Nanoscience, University of Cambridge UK, Zakaria is also the vice chairman of the Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

Zakaria, the son of a settler from Felda Palong 1, Negri Sembilan, has served the Felda Group for the past 32 years since 1984, including Felda Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Cocoa Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, Felda Rubber Products Sdn Bhd and Felda Marketing Services Sdn Bhd.

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